If you find yourself being around people that make you feel like you’ll only ever be sad or if you keep hearing “you should be more positive about life,” “it’s not all bad,” “it could be worse,” welcome. I share your anger, I share your angst and I understand your frustration.
Toxic positivity leaves a very bitter aftertaste when trying to open up about one’s mental health condition. One single comment can downplay serious and dangerous mental health conditions, especially if it is chronic.
The sad part is that most people don’t realize the toxicity of “love and light” until much, much later.
How exactly do you ascertain your confidant is toxic-positive?
- The “positive reaffirmations”– if you keep hearing “it’s going to be okay,” “it could be worse”, “you’re attracting negativity by being sad all the time,”- You have a toxic-positive friend/ associate.
- The “down-playing”– if your worries or concerns; insecurities and sadnesses are deemed “unworthy” of attention and you are asked to “deal with it”, you have a toxic-positive associate. As a human being, it’s your birth-right to feel things- regardless of if they are “positive” or “negative”. You specifically need no one’s validation for the same.
- The “you are killing the vibe”– while boundaries are important in any relationship and no one should be subjected to emotional burnout, saying rude/hurtful things to someone who is already hurting and therefore excluding them from activities is top tier toxic behavior. Leaving such a situation will improve your environment of healing.
- The “divert yourself, get busy”– your mental health is important and requires attention and time. Piling work on your plate can cause severe burn-outs.
- The “you always feed down” – with any mental health issue, recovery isn’t speedy. And you should have all the time in the world to deal with it healthily. If you find yourself being rushed into recovery, your associate is toxic.
How to avoid being toxic-positive confidant?
- Acknowledge their feeling– you don’t need to understand or empathize with your friend’s emotions or decisions, but telling them it’s okay to feel that way will open up a comfort zone/ safe place for them.
- Healthy processing – seeking professional help is paramount in any mental health situation. Apart from that, using services such as LonePack Buddy, reading and researching ways to cope with the different types of mental health disorders, and assisting your friend in practicing the same is a healthy manner to deal with difficult times.
- Healing isn’t linear– understanding that sometimes despite steady improvement there are times when one can revert back to their old state. Being patient and giving room for such conditions and reassuring them is important. Healing isn’t always beautiful or linear. It is energy and time-consuming. If you do feel exhausted, take a step back without trampling on your friend’s journey. Check out our blog about setting up effective boundaries without feeling guilty!
How to distance yourself from a toxic-positive friend?
- Set up effective boundaries.
- Communicate your concern (in a nice way)- for example, “hey, f/n, I need a safe space to process/talk about my emotions, I understand that this might be heavy for you, but sometimes saying certain things is trivializing my actual condition, which isn’t healthy.”
- Respect the relationship. Not everyone can be in total harmony at all times; however, respect the past and present you share. Simply distancing yourself from this person is enough. You don’t need to take it upon yourself to educate the said friend right now. You can do that later. The last thing you need right now is more drama.
What you really need when battling any kind of mental health issue:
- Unconditional support, but in the right direction.
- Understand your condition and care for it- just like caring for a fracture or a wound, treat your condition as if it were physical- do the things that augment healing, don’t over-exert!
- Get professional help- Therapy is always good and seeking professional help can assist in speedier healing!
Remember, there is no sunshine without storms and there is no rainbow without rain clouds. To be absolutely healthy and sound, emotions need to be dealt with in waves. It is always an ongoing process, rather than a one-day event. Give yourself the time and right environment for the same.